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Juvenile killer Barry Massey released today

by caprecord

Barry Massey, the youngest person to be sentenced to life in prison without parole in the U.S., was released today.

Massey was 13 years old when he and an accomplice, who was 15, stabbed and shot to death Steilacoom Marina owner Paul Wang in 1987.

Massey’s attorney Maureen Devlin spoke with TVW’s Anita Kissée. Devlin said the release is a “hugely significant” moment because it “represents progress in our treatment” of juveniles.

“There is something different about their brains and about their level of development that allows us to all have hope for children who even commit horrific offenses like this one,” Devlin said.

The state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board announced Massey’s release in 2015. The move came after the state Legislature passed a bill in response to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned life without parole for juveniles. The state law assumes the release of  juvenile killers after 25 years if there is no reason to believe they should not be released.

Facebook photo of Barry Massey and his wife Rhonda Massey-posted Feb. 16, 2016

Devlin said there is still hope for juvenile offenders to be “rehabilitated and changed” and Massey is a “star example” of that. He said that Massey is a “different person” than when he was 13.

“We are very grateful for that recognition by the Legislature and we’re grateful to the board for following the legislation and for having faith in Barry,” she said.

The victim’s family created a website in opposition to his release, which includes a petition titled, “Help us keep the killer where he should be – in prison.”

Massey spent nearly 30 years in prison. He is now 42.

More details about the case are available on Wednesday’s edition of “The Impact” at 7 & 10 p.m.